Race Review Vietnam Trail Marathon
By MARKUS GNIRCK
The first edition of the Vietnam Trail Marathon took place on Saturday, 19 January 2019, in the area of Moc Chau in Northern Viet Nam. After a 5h bus drive from Hanoi, a beautiful mountain region opens up and exposes a great landscape for running. The race was organised by TOPAS Group who runs the series of Vietnam Trail Marathon, Vietnam Jungle Marathon and Vietnam Mountain Marathon. They do know how to organise those!
An estimated 20,000 participants came to do either 10km, 21km, 42km or 70km. I participated in the 42km race as Christmas was just happening and training wasn’t ideal during that time 🙂 Many, many runners seemed to do their first run ever and it was impressive to see how many actually straight went to do their first 21km or 42km race. The 42km and 70km distances are also eligible for UTMB qualifications and ITRA points.
Race / Route
The route takes you through a fairly hill region, mostly trail, some times crossing streets. The 42km had around 1900m elevation gain. After a 4km jog through some fields, it takes you up a steep hill for around 1km with 500m Elevation Gain – that warms you up for sure. After that it is another nice run for over 30km, slightly up and down, until another steep hill gets your legs challenged. The temperature was pleasant with around 18 degrees, mostly sunny, sometimes foggy.
The most amazing part was to have lots of spectactors alongside the route. It seemed like that everyone from young to old from the nearby villages was outside to cheer up the runners, take pictures and videos and have a good time. That also gave great insights how the locals were living and was a good way to connect to the local culture.
The race was very well organised. Pick up was easy a day beforehand, the start was on time and the route well marked. Plenty refreshment points were well stocked with water and fruits. The volunteers were friendly and helpful and seemed to enjoy their time.
What landscapes! For someone who hasn’t been to that part of Vietnam before, it was the best way to get to know the nature. The trail takes you through vast fields of blossoming plumb fields, tea plantations and bushy forests. As race start was 7am the sun rising through the hills gave some very nice views over the region.
I highly recommend this race!